Boston Celtics

Milestone Monday: Kendrick Perkins

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Milestone Monday: Kendrick Perkins

By A.Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com

BOSTON When you think about current Boston Celtics players who can knock down shots, there are a bunch of names that immediately come to mind.

Chances are, Kendrick Perkins isn't one of them.

And yet the 6-foot-10 center is not only tops on the C's in shooting percentage this season, but he also stands as the franchise leader in that category.

"I know I'm not going to get a ton of shots up," Perkins recently told CSNNE.com. "I know that. So I know when I get them, I gotta make them count."

More often than not, he does.

A career 56.4 percent shooter, Perkins is connecting on 58 percent of his shots this season.

Of course, most of Perkins' points come around the basket.

While recovering from a torn MCL and PCL injury suffered in Game Six of the NBA Finals last June, Perkins said he went about trying to improve his game in all phases -- including shooting.

"That's never going to be a big part of my game, scoring," Perkins said. "But I've been working on this little 15-footer; just trying to get better, that's all."

Even though he's the franchise leader in field-goal percentage, arguably Perkins' greatest contributions to the Celtics' success come at the defensive end of the floor.

"Him and KG, those guys are our defensive anchors," Boston's Glen Davis told CSNNE.com.

But there are times when the Celtics call upon Perkins to be more of an impact player on offense.

Boston certainly needed a big game offensively from Perkins in Sunday's 85-82 win over the Miami Heat.

With a roster that was as depleted as we've seen this season against the Heat, Perkins tallied a season-high 15 points in the C's victory.

"We told Perk that he had to be a great rover and finisher against the Heat," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. "Because they do a great job of showing with their bigs. I told him, 'just trust the pass. it will be there.'"

Trust has been something Perkins' teammates have placed in him, both as a defender and at times, as a scorer, too.

"He has great hands. He can finish around the basket," said Kevin Garnett. "Defensively, he doesn't need a lot of help. He's a talker. We have that chemistry and rapport with him. To have him back to be a force . . . it's good to have Perk back."

A. Sherrod Blakely can be reached atsblakely@comcastsportsnet.com.Follow Sherrod on Twitter at http:twitter.comsherrodbcsn

Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

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Gordon Hayward opens up about disappointment of losing Isaiah Thomas

Gordon Hayward wanted to go to Boston to play with Isaiah Thomas.

Of course, that's not going to happen. The Celtics traded Thomas to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a package for Kyrie Irving. Hayward explained what it was like for him to learn he and Thomas would not get the chance to hit the court together in Celtics' green.

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"My first reaction was to text I.T., and wish him the best," Hayward wrote in a blog post which he published Thursday. "That was a really strange moment because I’d really been looking forward to playing with him. He didn’t just help recruit me to Boston—he was a big piece of that recruitment. He had talked a lot about city and how it was different to be a Celtic. He talked about the intensity of playing in the Eastern Conference Finals, playing at the Garden in the playoffs, and how much fun it was, and how much fun he had playing in Boston.

"All of that ultimately helped win me over. And by the time of the trade, I had already started to build a little bit of a relationship with him.

"But that is just how the business works. I have spent enough years in the NBA to realize that things can change like that, in an instant. Still, even though we didn’t necessarily get to be teammates, I’m definitely going to be watching him as a fan. In this league, I think we are all rooting for each other in some way or another—just to try to stay healthy, to try to be the best we can be."

Hayward may be genuine about rooting for Thomas -- except perhaps when he faces off against the Cavaliers in the season-opener on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. Thomas is uncertain to play due to a hip injury. But the two teams are expected to see each other in the Eastern Conference Finals again after the 2017-18 season. This preview will be an opportunity for Thomas and Irving to get their first shot at revenge against their previous team.

The trade wasn't all bad for Hayward, he explained. He was pleased at the prospect of playing with Irving. Hayward cited Irving's abilities in 1-on-1 situations and clutch moments. He appreciated Irving's scoring ability, because Hayward knows the point guard will open up space for Hayward to knock down open shots. Above all, Hayward seemed to value Irving's unique experience.

"And then getting a chance to play with LeBron James, and going to the Finals three straight years—those are experiences that are invaluable and that you really can’t teach," Hayward wrote. "Having that experience of playing in those big moments, dealing with the circus of the media, dealing with expectations, those are all things that I think he can help us with. Because most of us, myself especially, have never been through that."

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